Breast Cancer Approach to Alzheimer’s Trial Design Could Improve Results, Scientists Contend

Breast Cancer Approach to Alzheimer’s Trial Design Could Improve Results, Scientists Contend
Research on Alzheimer’s treatments could benefit from the adaptive clinical trial approach used in breast cancer research, three Georgetown University scientists argue in a commentary. An adaptive approach involves modifying a trial as results come in to find the best way to treat the disease the trial is examining. The adaptive approach to breast cancer trials requires collaboration and data sharing among pharmaceutical firms, public research organizations, academic institutions, and patient advocacy groups, the Georgetown group noted in their viewpoint piece in the journal JAMA Neurology Scientists Mindi Messmer, Erin Wilhelm and Ira Shoulson acknowledged that an adaptive approach would be far more complicated in Alzheimer’s than in breast cancer research. But it could help overcome the 99.6 percent clinical trial failure rate of Alzheimer's therapies and the resulting loss in research investment, they said. “In the face of these challenges, there is global interest to innovate clinical trials that enable more effective outcomes,” they wrote. Their piece was titled “I-SPY 2 Breast Cancer Trial as a Model for Innovation in Alzheimer Disease Therapies.” Clinical trial failures stem from a number of factors, including poor understanding of disease processes, inappropriate dosing or length of treatment, and patient populations that are too different. But the Georgetown scientists contended that innovative trial designs have overcome some of these obstacles in other diseases.
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